The Hawkesbury River is steeped in Australian History.

Australia's Constitution. An extraordinary event occurred at Refuge Bay on the Hawkesbury River in late March 1891, recorded as the only time politicians came clean in public, Government leaders from Australia's colonies gathered in Sydney for the constitutional convention. They spent the Easter cruising the Hawkesbury River on the Queensland paddle steamer 'Lucinda', showering under a pristine waterfall at Refuge Bay in Ku-ring-gai National Park. Leaders present included Charles Kingston, Sir Edmund Barton, A.J.Thynne, Sir John Downer, Henry Wrixon and Bernhard Wise.

Naming The River. In March 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip set off to find more suitable land for agriculture and travelled up the Hawkesbury River as far as Dangar Island. He returned the following year and navigated the river to a point upstream of Windsor. He gave the river its modern name to honour Charles Jenkinson, First Earl of Liverpool, England and the Baron of Hawkesbury. The Aboriginal name for the Hawkesbury River is 'Deerubbun'.

Royal Visits. Brooklyn also played host to the Duke & Duchess of York, later King George V and Queen Mary, while cruising the river on the paddle-steamer 'General Gordon'. They were invited to Australia to open Federal Parliament in 1901. 

An impressive avenue of palms that today line the entry to McKell Park were planted to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor) who came to Brooklyn for a picnic on the 24th of June 1920.

The Rail Bridges. The first Hawkesbury River railway bridge was constructed by the Union Bridge Company of Brooklyn, New York and opened with the first train crossing in May 1889. The bridge enabled trains for the first time to travel some 2,880 kilometres from Australia's top to bottom albeit with two breaks of gauge on the Victorian and Queensland borders.

"Australia United", celebrated the newspaper headlines. A special banquet was held for guests on a large pontoon off Dangar Island. The guest list included Sir Henry Parkes who acclaimed the bridge as a major stimulus to federation.

A major achievement of its time as one of the piers reached a depth of 162 feet before resting on solid rock, it was the deepest structure in the world. It took two years to build but in 1937 cracks appeared in some of the piers. Heavy traffic during WWII further weakened the structure and it became unsafe.

The new bridge was opened in 1946 with each of its piers containing fresh water tubes that are periodically tested for salt water contamination.

During WWII the bridge was protected from Japanese attack by anchoring boom nets from Dangar Island especially after maps salvaged from the midget submarines that raided Sydney in 1942, showed targets marked around the bridge.

Ship Wrecks. Australia's first military gunboat lies in Cascade Gully near Milson's Passage on the Lower Hawkesbury River. The HMAS Parramatta was just 70 meters (245ft) long, weighing 700 tonnes and capable of 29 knots but in her day she was regarded as a destroyer armed with just one four inch gun and three torpedo tubes. Built in Glasgow in 1910, she served in New Guinea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea during World War 1 and ended her service career in 1928. In 1930, together with HMAS Swan, she was towed from Sydney to Cowan Creek to provide accommodation for prisoners who were to construct a road to Appletree Bay but the plan never eventuated. After being sold in 1933, both ships were used as carriers for construction material from Brooklyn to Milson and Peat Islands. The Swan sank in 1934 and in 1935 a wild storm caused the Parramatta to break free of her mooring and she ran a ground under the towering cliffs of Cascade Gully. For several years she provided shelter for unemployed men and was used to store water from a nearby water fall for the use of the river residents. In 1973, the Naval Historical Society removed the bow and stern of the ship for memorials at Garden Island and Parramatta but her heart and sole still lie on the salty banks of the Hawkesbury River.

Refuge and America Bays. In 1942 Refuge Bay was the top-secret training base for the Z Force when preparing for their daring raid on Singapore harbour. The vessel used for this assignment was a 20m. ex-Japanese fishing boat, the ' Krait ' which is now in the National Maritime Museum.

Dangar Island. Captain Phillip's exploration party landed on Dangar Island on the 7th of March 1788. They caught a quantity of fish and so named it Mullet Island. In the early days some boat building took place and salt was produced for shipment to Sydney. The island was acquired in 1864 by Henry Dangar and renamed. The first white child born there was James Stanbury who became the world sculling champion in 1891, 1892 and 1896. Stanbury was a very big man renowned for his strength who would row to a point 15klm. upriver from Dangar Island known now as Big Jims Point where he built his home.

Wisemans Ferry. The original road to link Sydney to the Hunter passed over the Hawkesbury at Wisemans Ferry. Part of this remains and on the northern side of the Hawkesbury across from Wisemans Ferry one of the most remarkable and important engineering feats is preserved in the Dharug National Park . This section of the Great North Road is known as Divines Hill and the massive stone walls and ramparts are a must for all visitors to the area. One Soloman Wiseman obtained the contract to feed the convicts and gave his name to the ferry that crosses the Hawkesbury River , free of charge, every day of the year.

Windsor. Governor Phillip and his party reached this area by boat on 6th July 1789 and named it Green Hills. He was impressed with its farming potential and quickly arranged for food production to begin in order to relieve the shortages in Port Jackson. Governor Macquarie named the settlement Windsor in 1810. Convict architect Francis Greenway designed the Courthouse, built in 1822 and the impressive St Matthews Anglican Church, built in1820.

Bar Island. Because of its central location to the surrounding small communities, St John's Church was built in 1876 to be used as a church and community meeting site as well as a school, it was used until 1887. The church ceased to be used in about 1892, when the one at Brooklyn was built. It deteriorated and was finally demolished in 1906, apart from the Vestry chimney. A burial ground contains nearly sixty graves, mostly unmarked, with the last burial in 1906.  On the western end of the Island stands a memorial to two Outward Bound instructors drowned in the Murray River who's ashes were scattered on the Island

Mooney Mooney Creek. Mooney Mooney Creek bridge is the highest road bridge in the southern hemisphere spanning 480mtrs. in three sections ( 130m, 220m, 130m ) and stands 75mtrs. from the high water mark. It was opened in December 1988.